Jeremy Hefner might need elbow surgery

Mets pitcher Jeremy Hefner delivers the ball to

Mets pitcher Jeremy Hefner delivers the ball to the Kansas City Royals during the first inning. (August 3, 2013) (Credit: AP)

SAN DIEGO - Mets starting pitcher Jeremy Hefner might require Tommy John surgery to repair a small tear discovered in a ligament in his right elbow.

"I don't know how serious a possibility, but we have not been able to rule that out at this point," general manager Sandy Alderson said before Friday night's game against the Padres.

Hefner is to be examined by doctors Monday. He was placed on the disabled list retroactive to last Saturday after doctors discovered a partial tear of the MCL in his elbow.

Though surgery can't be ruled out, it also is possible that Hefner (4-8, 4.34 ERA) will return before the season is over. Manager Terry Collins said earlier in the week that he expects Hefner to pitch again this year.

Sad to see him go

Collins expressed his sadness at the firing of longtime Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. Before they were managerial rivals, the two were minor-league teammates in Albuquerque. They have developed a close friendship over the years.

"Masqueraded behind that country bumpkin stuff, he's real sharp," Collins said. "And I feel terrible for him today because, obviously, with what their success has been in recent years, he's had a lot to do with that."

Short hops

Infielder Wilmer Flores (sprained right ankle) was scheduled to run the bases during batting practice . . . Collins expected reliever LaTroy Hawkins to be available out of the bullpen two days after he was struck in the groin by a comebacker . . . The Mets' Sept. 1 game against the Nationals has been moved to 8 p.m. for ESPN. The change will force the Mets to make a tough turnaround into a 1 p.m. game the next day in Atlanta.

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